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WHY COMPARISON PARALYSES YOUR GROWTH

 

🌿 THE SELF CARE SUNDAY BLOG 🌿

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We often compare ourselves to others and its hardly our fault when we are bought up in a society where we are constantly compared to each other from the time we are born. 
"You should be better at sports like your brother" 
"Your class mates are fast at writing how come you are struggling?"
"I was smaller than you at your age"...
We try for years to blend in, to not be too different. Unfortunately when we are children different isn’t always well received by our peer groups. So as we try to "fit in" we suppress the parts of ourselves that make us unique.

A great piece of advice that I was given a few years ago was to only ever compare myself to my own past self. The best way to do this is to write a timeline. You can do this for any area of your life. Your career, relationships, mental health, appearance etc. When you look over your timeline you can see all highs and lows. We all move at different speeds through life and as long as you’re working towards positive progression from your past then you are doing your absolute best. 
For a healthy society we need difference! Above all we need individuality. If we all thought and did the same we would still be in the stone age! It’s our unique ways and our unique ideas that help us progress and move forward.

My Mum is a great role model for me as she really began to understand herself and find pleasure in life around the age of 50. She had always put herself down and believed that she wasn’t very creative or talented. She stayed her profession as a carer for over 30 years because she felt she wasn’t good enough to be something different, although she longed for change. She dabbled in a few different things like beauty therapy and message but didn’t feel like it was the right path so she gave up. Then in her late 40’s she felt the familiar feeling return in her gut of needing a career change. She didn’t know where to begin and she felt that she was too old to go back to school and study. My sister and I just encouraged her to start with something she enjoyed. That was gardening. She returned to TAFE to study horticulture part time. She was scared but she did it. A few years later she had a few certificates under her belt and decided to create a little gardening business. Her business did quite well and she was able to cut back on her caring work. After some time she decided that the work was too physically involved for her to continue long term. During this time she had began drawing flowers. This was totally surprising to everyone as she never really had a creative bone in her body…so it seemed. From drawing flowers she became inspired to start making them, and she began doing this through cake decorating. Before long she had started making cakes for friends birthdays and then for restaurants. Now at 53 she only works a few days a week as a carer, she still has her odd gardening client and she decorates cakes. She is the happiest I’ve seen her in years. She has healthy balance of variety, challenge and enjoyment.

I love telling her story because every time I do it reminds me how we are all in our own perfect timelines and that we all flourish and bloom at different stages. I would have expected all the growing and achieving to be done earlier in life but its not true. It can happen at any time. It happens when we focus on our own paths. We can draw inspiration from others but we must be careful not to measure ourselves up against them.

Comparison is doing yourself and others a disservice, Shine Bright as you are in your own perfect timing!

 
Ashleigh Graham